This book is an outstanding new cutting-edge work on North Carolina’s Civil War experience combining the best features of an atlas with narrative history. The scope covers the entire war in seven chapters from the coming of secession, through the battles, to the efforts to commemorate the conflict after 1865.
The first thing that strikes the reader is its tremendous size: 17 by 11 inches. That size pays off when the reader turns to the beautiful new [End Page 181] maps inside. Not content with using older works, the authors use the most modern, high-tech mapping resources available, including GIS (geographic information system), Adobe Illustrator, and more. The result is a new standard in accuracy and detail never seen before, especially on such events as William Tecumseh Sherman’s march through North Carolina.
Second, the book has achieved a rare balance by including all the participants from the state: Confederate, Union, native son Unionist, African American, and naval forces. The balance also extends to covering the state’s smaller engagements, many never before mapped. The authors also include topics relating to political and social history; agriculture; slavery; the home front; and the war in the coastal, piedmont, and mountainous regions of the state.
Third, rather than relying on older sources, the book uses the most up-to-date works, such as new casualty statistics available from the National Archives and the ongoing North Carolina Civil War Death Study. The book’s breadth and wide scope come at a price, of course, and that is its depth. This sacrifice is a result of the book being an atlas, not to mention that it covers the entire war in just two hundred pages. Nevertheless, this book is a major new contribution to the study of North Carolina’s Civil War and is by far the most accurate and up-to-date, especially in the area of mapping. It is a must read for Civil War scholars and students alike.